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4 Ways to Increase Prospect Quality Over Quantity

Not many advisors complain about having too many prospects.

But here’s the thing.

You have too many prospects if:

  • You don’t know how to tailor your advice to them (because you honestly don’t know what’s important to each person)
  • You can’t increase your value or competitive advantage because you’re too scattered
  • Your team is frazzled by trying to keep up with the volume of prospects (who they also don’t know!)

The solution?

Stop being so hung up on the quantity of your prospects.

Aim for quality instead.

In our webinar, 4 Ways to Increase Prospect Quality Over Quantity, Top Advisor Marketing CEO Matt Halloran will teach you steps that you can use immediately to attract high-quality leads.

Use our formula to give personalized value to every prospect AND turn them into fans who will tell other high-quality prospects about your firm!

Click play below to get started!

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How to Start Your Podcast From Home

Many financial advisors want to start podcasting since they are working from home and tend to have extra time.  

Here are tips to help you start your podcast during these self-quarantine times. 

 

1) How to make it high quality but inexpensive: 

 

Record your podcast on a smartphone, which has a pretty amazing mic. Your smartphone also has noise-canceling qualities and you’re probably used to talking on it. 

Here are two more tools to get you started:

    1. App to record: Podbean app does it all for you; it will syndicate, record, and help you sound great! $10 is all you need to spend annually.
    2. Choose a title for your podcast with the help of a name generator. Even if you don’t use any of its suggestions, it might jumpstart some ideas: Podcast Name Generator

 

2) How to record in your home office: 

 

You can use your computer to record your voice. Most computers have a pretty good mic. But keep in mind that if you have an older computer, your mic will probably pick up fan sounds. Another option is to use your Podbean app for recording your podcast. 

If you want to step up the quality of your recording, consider using the following:

    1. A great plug-and-play mic: Blue Yeti USB Microphone
    2. Free software for editing and mastering: Audacity
    3. Tutorial video to help you edit: Audacity Basics: Recording, Editing, Mixing

Also, remember to tell your family what time you will be recording at and for approximately how long. Ask them to be as quiet as possible and close your office door, if possible, while you’re recording. 

 

3) How to record in your business office: 

 

Choose a dedicated space to set up your office studio. You can use the equipment, software, and programs listed above. Once you’ve set up your equipment, don’t touch those settings again; resist any urges to experiment with the settings on your mixer or the volume on your USB mic. I’m giving you this advice because we’ve had clients change their settings only to end up with poor-quality recordings. 

Again, ask everyone in your office to be as quiet as they can during your recording times. 

 

4) How to record while traveling:

 

Even though most people aren’t traveling right now, knowing how to record a podcast while you’re on the road can come in handy later. You never know when a great idea will spark. 

Whether you are in an airport, doing some windshield time, or at a hotel, here is what you can do:  

    1. Record on your smartphone, but use Apple wired EarPods. Apple must put fairies in these mics, considering how great they are.  
    2. Use the Podbean app to record, edit, and syndicate your podcast. 

 

5) How to write show notes:

 

I highly recommend that you write show notes (i.e. episode summaries) to go with each episode you record. Show notes offer SEO value to drive people to your podcast website on Podbean, give listeners a preview of what they will learn, and serve as a spot for providing listeners with more details about guests and links to resources that are relevant to your episodes, such as white papers, blogs, or websites.  

Publish show notes alongside each episode by copying and pasting them from a Word or Google document or by writing them in the episode summary field within your podcast channel.

Use these resources to help you get started:

    1. Title generator: Blog About
    2. Examples of show notes: Top Advisor Marketing Podcast

Now you’re on your way to starting your podcast from home! Have fun and know that you’re launching a medium that’s ideal for initiating and strengthening relationships with your listeners, building your credibility, and sharing your expertise widely. 

 

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Advisors, Don’t Let These 5 Investor Biases Derail Your Strategy

In 2008 we were faced with a black swan event. Fast forward to 2020, we are now in the midst of another one.

But no one saw this black swan event coming.

Naturally, most people are feeling some degree of panic. We are being bombarded constantly with new information and the rate at which new events are developing doesn’t help either. These situations can bring out the best in some and the worst in others. It’s only natural to start questioning everything.

It may be hard for advisors to focus when they’re hearing from clients who are feeling increasingly anxious about their investments. But I want you to avoid falling into the same behavioral biases that might be clouding your clients’ judgment.

These are the biases that I believe are most prevalent right now, for investors and advisors alike. 

 

#1 Loss Aversion Bias: The pain of loss is twice as psychologically powerful than the pleasure of gaining, according to Behavioraleconomics.com.

During a market crash, investors are more willing to take risks by pulling out their money if it means avoiding a short-term loss. Unless you have sold out of positions, you have lost nothing. Most of you have created a plan that’s strong enough to withstand a situation like this!  

 

#2 Mental Accounting Bias: Rather than thinking of their money in terms of the “bottom line,” people treat money differently depending on factors like where it came from and its intended use, according to Richard Thaler’s theory of mental accounting. 

I bet you are totally falling into this bias right now! You are looking at accounts individually instead of as a part of an overall plan. 

 

#3 Snakebite Effect: “Once bitten, twice shy” captures the human reaction to this bias. Investors who have a negative experience with an investment might take on an ultra-conservative approach going forward. 

We are all feeling the sting of a bite here, but anyone who went super conservative with their investments after 2009 missed a lot of amazing growth that the stock market has had since then.

 

#4 Illusion of control: People who fall into this bias believe they have influence over random events that they have no true power over. Factors that strengthen this bias include the familiarity of the situation, the type of outcome, and people’s personalities and moods. This illusion of power can spur investors to take unnecessary risks.

Let me ask you this: What can you actually control in this present situation? How is this really going to affect the long-term plan you created?

 

#5 Recency Bias: This bias is a psychological phenomenon in which people can most vividly remember recent events. People are then prone to using recent events as a baseline for making decisions. 

We are living in this bias right now. investors have already forgotten that their portfolios have been screaming straight up since 2009. In the last three years, what has the real rate of return been?

 

Final notes, keep your head, communicate a lot about what you are doing, remember doing nothing is something. If there is anything I can help you with, please message me on LinkedIn

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5 Reasons for Advisors to Differentiate Themselves Right Now

Are you subscribed to iris.xyz? I believe that iris.xyz is an invaluable source of advisor-focused information that features some of the best writers in this space.

I was particularly impressed by Don Connelly’s article: How to Eliminate the Competition Because You ARE Different. Considering how saturated the advisor-space is, it’s no longer enough to be “client-focused” or “comprehensive” because so is everyone else! 

I’m going to quickly expand on Don’s excellent points on why it’s critical that advisors differentiate themselves.

 

“Clients don’t want average, they want excellence.” 

Today’s clients expect attention and communication that is highly personalized. They’re also asking more questions and expecting to be involved in the planning process. Clients clearly want an advisor that surpasses “average.” 

So how do show your clients that you’re an excellent advisor?

There are three things I recommend:

  1. Make advanced education a priority. Sharpen your skills and offer more value to your clients. 
  2. Consider hiring a coach who will push you to become an unrivaled expert in serving your ideal clientele’s unique needs.
  3. Tell your clients what you learned at the latest conference — and share it with enthusiasm. This is an effective way to show your clients that you’re at the forefront of industry trends and will use that newfound knowledge to benefit them.  

 

You can’t get referrals if you are not referable.”

If you cannot explain what makes you referable, your clients can’t either. And if you don’t offer anything that is truly unique and different, you are not referable. 

Do you have a real difference-maker in your practice? Do you help a specific kind of person? Spend time answering these questions. Find another advisor who you can have as a sounding board and accountability partner.  

We also have a guide that can help you boost your chances of getting referrals.

“Technology is commoditizing the industry.”

Are robo-advisors a real threat? AI can help replicate many processes, but not relationships. Do you have real, deep relationships with your clients and COIs? Are you super focused on performance? This is something you have to ask yourself. Do I do a good enough job that I am irreplaceable?

 

You can no longer be all things to all people.”

We have said it before on our podcast and repeat it every time we have a chance: It’s more efficient to replicate your ideal client and target that audience than to spend all your time and efforts trying to be all things to all people. 

You cannot be a generalist unless that is your company’s model. Edward Jones is a perfect example, their brand is being a generalist. It works for them —, they are on every corner. But this company is a rare exception.

Niche marketing can be intimidating for some advisors. Get started by listening to episode 161 of our Top Advisor Marketing Podcast: The Top 10 Arguments Against Niche Marketing and Why They’re All Wrong.

 

“Sharpen your differentiation message.”

All of the above in Don Connelly’s article leads to this final point. You need to create a compelling elevator statement. A powerful value proposition you strive to live up to every day. What is your story?  Who are your favorite clients? Why should I do business with you?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to develop your value proposition.

Don nailed this article. I found myself nodding, smiling, and cheering for his points. I just wanted to support his message!  

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Answers to Financial Advisors’ Top Podcasting and Compliance Questions

What’s keeping you from starting your own podcast? For many financial advisors, the resounding answer is “compliance!”

You might consider compliance to be “the business prevention department.” I used to feel that way. I can remember times when a client and I would come up with a great idea for a podcast only to get a lengthy delay for approval or, even worse, a big “NO” from compliance. 

What I’ve learned is that compliance is practically a non-issue if you know how to work within their rules. 

To help you learn the rules and clear away your compliance concerns, I’m answering advisors’ top questions about compliance and podcasting.

Let’s get to it…

 

Question #1: Before I record a podcast, do I have to submit a full script to compliance for their approval?

Answer: No, you don’t need to submit a script for approval. However, most compliance departments want to have an outline of what you will talk about before you record so they can guide you on which topics (if any) to avoid.

In your outline, include your main topic and then list your subtopics. A super organized outline is more likely to get your compliance’s stamp of approval quickly.

Question #2: How do I archive a podcast?

Answer: If you use our done-for-you podcasting service, we will provide you with a transcript of each podcast episode for you to submit to compliance for archiving purposes. 

Giving compliance access to transcripts also gives them the ability to point out anything that they want to be edited out. Let’s say you slip up and say something compliance doesn’t like. They can then tell our editing team to edit out that section of the audio. If we can remove it and still make that part of the podcast sound smooth, we do it! If not, we find the best edit-point and take out even more — and compliance won’t complain about that!

 

Question #3: How do I get a podcast episode turned around quickly if I need to talk about something that’s timely?

Answer: Many of our clients podcast about current events or seasonal topics, like tax planning, Medicare, and new laws. If needed, our team can rush your podcast episode through editing and post-production so it can be released as soon as humanly possible. Hopefully, by this point, your compliance compartment has gotten into the flow of reviewing and approving your podcasts in a quick timeframe. 

Do keep in mind that podcasting isn’t a substitute for picking up the phone and updating your clients. For the most part, podcasting is for timeless, evergreen material. 

 

Question #4: How do I stop people from commenting on my podcast and potentially saying negative things about my company? 

Answer: Certain podcast channels, as well as YouTube, will allow you to turn off the commenting function. Since we have produced hundreds of podcasts, we know which players allow what level of listener interaction. We have the ability to turn off comments and ratings on different players for you.

 

There you have it — your answers to the top compliance and podcasting questions. I hope you feel encouraged to pick up that podcasting dream again and don’t let compliance-fears stop you!

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4 Recommendations to Make Your Next Presentation a Hit

For the past few months, I have been lucky enough to travel to different conferences to do something I love: speak. 

One of the things about being a speaker is that you get to watch other speakers either kill it or struggle in front of an audience who knows they are not delivering their best presentation. It can be brutal to watch. 

With that in mind, I thought I would share tips to help you become part of the group that excels in front of your audience.

 

Practice  

And I mean practice a lot! Melissa Finnegan, the AVP of training and development for Lincoln Financial Distributors, was one of the best speakers I have seen in a long time. It was obvious that she had spent time polishing her presentation by practicing and tweaking it beforehand. Every move she made had meaning, every slide had value, and because of her confidence and preparation, Melissa delivered an outstanding presentation that made her look like the expert she is. 

 

Don’t Rely on Slides 

Have slides, but make it look like you don’t need them at all. There is nothing worse than delivering a presentation by reading off of slides. This approach takes away from the authenticity of your presentation and makes your audience question your expertise. Anyone can read from slides, but only a few people are able to speak from their expert point of view.

With all that said, you can still use slides but they shouldn’t be the main focus of your presentation. And going back to the practice component, know your presentation so well that you don’t need to look at your slides while speaking. Be able to do the presentation even if the computer breaks down. Use slides only to complement and support your presentation.

 After all, you are what your audience wants to see and hear, not some PowerPoint presentation. 

 

Be Personable and Engaging

Engage everyone. Björn Borg was another speaker at a recent event I attended. No, not the tennis player! But he used that sentence to warm up the group and engage them. He used humor, pauses, and poked fun at himself at the beginning of the presentation to engage and help the audience connect with him. Björn conducted himself well on stage, made eye contact, and smiled at everyone who made eye contact with him. 

Other types of icebreakers work too. For example, if you use a chart, make it a fun one or use it in an unexpected way to make a point. So many people think that showing charts and graphs supports their thought leadership, but sometimes they don’t. Charts and graphs can sometimes come across as boring or predictable, so why not try something different that comes across as playful and engaging?

 

Make Your Audience Want to Know More About You

Deirdre Van Nest is one of the best speaking coaches out there. I watched her present at a conference and I realized there was so much I could be doing better. Among other things, she teaches that you need to make your audience care about you as a person before they listen to what you want them to learn.  

Inspire your audience with stories and accomplishments, fun anecdotes, or impress them with your know-how. But this works both ways. In order to get your audience interested in you, you need to know your audience and understand their pain points and how they are similar to you. These elements will help you deliver a more powerful presentation that genuinely helps your audience and shows that you understand them.

As a bonus recommendation, if you think you could be a better speaker, hire a speaking coach. This may seem frivolous but the cost does not matter. If you speak for a living, you have to be the best speaker you can be. In the long term, it can make you more money, build better and deeper relationships, and allow you to get that one thing all speakers love: applause. 

 

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3 Stages To Creating New Offerings That Your Clients Will Value

In every industry, decision-makers are constantly challenged to improve their offerings, to find new products to better meet client expectations and needs, and, just overall, to continue improving. 

But you cannot make changes without a reason or a plan, just for the sake of offering something new or refreshing your product. Most likely, if you decide to change without a structure or goal in mind, this will drive your team crazy and confuse your clients and prospects. 

Change has to provide real value for your clients.

Stage one of the change-making process is to find out what your clients really value. To accomplish this, you have to do a few things that you might find intimidating as a business owner: 

 

  • Read everything about what you do: This comes without saying, but you should know (or want to know) everything about the services you provide. This includes reading books and guides from reputable sources but also using social media. Join industry groups on social media and read comments from professionals who serve the same niche as you. Join the conversation and you’re bound to find valuable insight and different points of view that can help you keep things in perspective.

 

  • Ask your team: Empower your team to feel comfortable with providing you feedback. Challenge them to ask themselves: what is working, what seems to go smoothly, and what could use some improvement. You have to train your team to pay attention to these areas by having regular meetings that offer opportunities for open conversations. Your team is a valuable resource when trying to evaluate your services and offerings. Plus, they will have an idea of what your clients need or seem happy with.

 

  • Do market research: When is the last time you took an in-depth look at your competition? What are other industries doing for clients like yours? Make a list of websites to visit and explore your competitions’ services and products: What features do they offer? How are they making clients’ lives easier? What do they do to offer extra value? Use these guiding questions to consider whether another company is offering something that your clients would love.

 

  • Ask your clients what they want! This is the one tactic that seems to scare all business owners, but it’s the one that will make you more successful. Listen to what your clients are saying. Understand their needs and anticipate a solution for their most pressing challenges.  

 

Now, that was just stage one of this process. 

Once you have done your research, considered the input of key players, and thought about what your new offering can be, it’s time for stage two: Put your ideas to work.

I like to start by picturing how the end result looks and then create systems from there. Reverse engineer your process. This will require you to have some knowledge of how your processes and your team works. 

You need to consider three fundamental questions to ensure your offering will be of great value to your clients and will remain an effective and profitable process for your company. 

 

    1. How much time will it take your team to change what they do in order to execute this new product/service?
    2. How do you want your clients to feel once they’ve experienced the service/product?  
    3. What are the steps to creating the system/service and who do you need to involve?

 

Finally, part three is where you will separate yourself from every other business out there. 

Training. 

There is not much value in creating a service or new offering that you believe works splendidly and can make your client’s life easier if you do not provide adequate training on it to both your team and clients.

Training is also not a one-and-done act. One of the most important parts of staying relevant in business is to always find ways to improve what you have created. You have to train, get feedback, evaluate, make adjustments, and then train your team some more. 

So many advisors and business owners will come up with a new idea, communicate expectations, miss some items on stage one, skip all of stage two, and do just enough of stage three. That is why a lot of brilliant ideas remain ideas instead of turning into profitable, actionable ways to advance a business.

You, as the innovator, need to be involved in every stage described here to truly provide constant, ongoing improvements for your clients and market.

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4 Ways to Boost Your Online Marketing Strategy

For years, advisors have been able to grow their businesses by using referrals and seminars. In our podcast, we often talk about why those strategies have been successful for advisors so far. 

While those two ways of prospecting show decent results for advisors, having a good digital communication strategy in place is proving more and more important today than anything else when it comes to prospecting. 

Here is why:

  • The boomer generation has become social media savvy. Having a social media presence is not a luxury for your company anymore, it is a necessity. Boomers will Google and search online for your social media profiles if they are referred to you by a friend. 
  • Generation X and Y do not have time for seminars but really need your help, and, let’s face it, if you want your business to be there for the long run, you need to start focusing on prospecting these generations as well.

 

How can you make sure that you have a good digital strategy in place? 

 

Follow my 4 recommendations:

 

You need to have a great website

Let’s start with the content. Don’t put everything on your site. You want your website to give people enough information for them to be interested in working with you, but you have to add a level of intrigue that will MAKE them ask you more. 

Keep your website design simple and offer your audience clear directions (i.e. calls to action) of what they should do while they’re on your site. 

Do you want your users to:  

 

    • Log in to their account?
    • Watch a video?
    • Schedule time on your calendar?
    • Sign up for your newsletter?
    • Download a paper?

 

Remember to make sure your website is responsive. Your audience should find your website to be user-friendly and high-quality whether they access it on their laptop, phone, or tablet. After all, over 51% of all website views are done on a mobile device. 

You have to be on social media  

This is now a crucial part of your client communication efforts. Everyone is on social media, and there is a massive pool of possible clients waiting to hear more about you and the help you can offer them.

Most advisors refrain from exploring social media tactics because of the time commitment. But if you don’t have time to maintain a personal or company social media account, you can get professional help with running your accounts. 

In addition to overseeing your accounts and helping you create content, a social media person will help you look polished across all of your social media platforms. Because even if you have no shortage of content it is not as easy as just clicking a button and sharing across platforms. 

 

    • Twitter has different requirements than other platforms, such as a character limit
    • LinkedIn and Facebook require different sized images, so you would have to create two different versions of your graphics
    • The tone you use on one social media platform is not the same one you would use on another 

 

Do consider that social media is not a “set it and forget it” tactic. Don’t hire someone expecting them to handle and create everything that is being published on your behalf. To be unique, you have to share your unique expertise. Add your personal touch to your messages and interact with your audience. 

There are also compliance regulations you need to follow in social media, so whoever you hire should help you stand out from competitors while making sure you stay compliant.

Prioritize content over ads

Don’t place too much weight on strategies like advertising on Facebook. While that can be useful for some, the truth is that, as a small firm or independent advisor, you will not be able to outspend the huge financial services firms. For one, you would have to let an ad run for what can seem like a very long time before seeing any results. 

Instead, create interesting posts that offer valuable and engaging content and boost those posts. That’s not the same as advertising. Producing authentic content is a better idea than to spend time, money and effort in less than effective fill-in-the-blank advertisements. 

Create content that you enjoy and can maintain

If you are a person who doesn’t enjoy writing, it wouldn’t be a good idea to start a blog or base your entire content-strategy focus on blogging.

Most advisors I know talk for a living. And they are good at it. You should use that skill to create content. Of course, if you know who we are and what we do, you know we think you should have your own podcast

Podcasting adds an extra layer of service and value for your clients because it allows them to access your knowledge 24/7. Your podcast also gives prospects a preview of what it will be like to work with you.

On top of that, you can use the content from your podcast to create blogs, social media posts, and videos. This is the kind of strategy that you could maintain and do consistently. If you record one or two podcast episodes a month, think about how many quotes and audio clips you could share on social media.

It’s time for advisors to look at their online presence and consider it is the cost of doing business. These strategies do not always equal obvious and instant lead generation.

Digital strategies are a long play that call advisors to look at ROI differently. And they’re worth every bit of time it takes because, at the end of the day, you’re building your influence, reputation, and making yourself more referable and more available to the people who need your expertise.

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10 Social Media Tools to Elevate Your Team’s Skills

Communication has fundamentally changed. 

As an advisor, you must communicate with your clients and prospects in the medium they prefer, while they are there. This is the truth we live with today. 

I’m talking about getting your firm active on social media.

There are many companies out there who will take care of this for you. They will post for you, engage with your audience, run ads — well, they will pretty much be you online. You can pay anywhere from a small monthly fee to a large retainer for that level of service. 

But consider these two questions before you pay for a social media service. 

Do you really want to outsource? Or would you rather have things handled in-house where you can have more control over who you and your company are online?

If you’ve answered “yes,” to the latter, I totally understand. But where do you find people best suited for the job?

The best thing you can do is hire someone locally who knows your business model, your industry’s rules and regulations, and the best social media platform for communicating to your ideal clients. 

You can find these people but it is hard; they are highly sought after and, most of the time, they come at a premium. If you want to go down this path, post your job on ziprecruiter.com and LinkedIn.  

Once you’ve hired your social media specialist, pay them well, show them a lot of appreciation, let them do what they do, and understand that they don’t need to be sitting at a desk for eight hours every day to do their job. Give them flexibility. 

Sometimes you get lucky and you already have this person in-house. You might even be looking at them over your computer monitor right now. You know this person, you like this person, and, the best thing is, you trust this person. 

So how can you get them trained to do this new social media job? 

Here are some great places to start with social media training:

 

Free

  1. Google SEO and Analytics  
  2. Facebook Advertising 
  3. Instagram for Business
  4. Twitter for Business
  5. How to Use Hootsuite 
  6. Advisor-Centric Social Media Resources  

 

Paid

  1. Basic–Advanced Hootsuite Certifications ($99-$999)
  2. Digital Marketer NanodegreeDigital Marketing NanoDegree ($999)
  3. Boot Camp Digital Social Media Certification ($997)
  4. Advisor-Specific Digital MarketerTraining ($799 with an optional monthly office-hours option for $79/ month)

 

I hope these resources help your social media specialist embark on their role with enthusiasm, creativity, and confidence. Happy learning!

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4 Things Really Great Podcast Hosts Do

A while ago, I was given the gift of interviewing Celeste Headlee for our Top Advisor Marketing Podcast. Celeste is a well known public radio journalist, news reporter, podcaster, and author. Considering that her book Heard Mentality has been a go-to for me — my reference manual to being a podcast host — you can imagine how excited I was to interview with Celeste!

During our podcast, Celeste gave our listeners advice on how to be a great podcast host. She started by saying that just because someone is generally a great conversationalist or public speaker, doesn’t mean they will be a great host.

So what makes a podcast host great then?

Read on to find out! Celeste had a lot to share with us! And it’s all good stuff.

Practice these 4 techniques:

1. It is never about you.  

You should not talk a lot as the podcast host. If you cannot remember when you started talking, you have been talking for too long. Your goal is to shine the light on your guest. If you’re getting long-winded, end your point and re-direct with a question or statement for your guest to take and run with.

2. Listen with more than your ears.  

Don’t be limited to using only headphones and a mic for communicating with your guest. Video conferencing is a great way to help you focus on their facial expressions, gestures, and micro-expressions. But, if you do not have access to the bandwidth or they don’t want to turn on their camera, there are other things you can do: Visualize them during the recording and gesture along with the gestures you imagine they are making. 

3. Make them comfortable before you hit record. 

Setting clear expectations after a polite conversation is an effective way to set your guest at ease. I have a script that I use to demonstrate our professionalism, preparation, and to help guests overcome common mistakes that guests tend to make. I would be glad to share them with you if you email me directly. 

4. When the interview is over, ask them for feedback on how the podcast went.

Ask your guest if there was anything you could do better and what they liked about the interview. Showing humility and a willingness to improve will help your guest continue to feel like the expert, and if you want them back as a returning guest, they will be more likely to accept. 

 

What is the greatest thing about being a podcast host? You always can learn, always get better, and hone your craft. Be encouraged! 

Practice these four tips from my interview with Celeste Headlee and listen to the full episode here to get more proven techniques.